We set out for Xining from Lanzhou around 0800 this morning, after enjoying the symbolic beef noodle soup, a specialty of the city. The broth recipe is passed down as top secret, which is enjoyed in the tummies of generations of local Lanzhou residents. Be careful of the cold dishes in the noodle houses, though; they can provide a less pleasant gastrointestinal experience if consumed too liberally.
[breakfast time at a local noodle house in Lanzhou, Gansu Province]
After a 2.5-hour drive of 174 kilometers to Xining, we settled down in a motel next to the main square. After some excellent dumplings in a local restaurent opened by a couple from Shandong Province, we went shopping for acetone. We are spending the night here in the city. Tomorrow we will drive to the Xining Airport to pick up Xiaoming, our fearless leader, before heading west into the Tibetan Plateau.
[a landmark site in Xining, Qinghai Province: the observation tower where the head of the Nanliang State inspected his army in 414 A.D.]
We purchased a case of acetone to use in mixing glue necessary for stabilizing fragile fossil specimens. Xining is the last major city where acetone is available before we head into the Chaidamu Basin, where we will begin our fieldwork. We will purchase gasoline cans and water jugs once inside the Basin, before we go deep into the desert to camp.
[a medicine shop in Xining, Qinghai Province where we got some medicine for the field]
Our expedition team is relative small this year:
Dr. Xiaoming Wang (LACM)
Dr. Guangpu Xie (Gansu Provincial Museum)
Dr. Qiang Li (IVPP)
Dr. Ning Wang (IVPP)
Fuqiao Shi (IVPP)
Qiuyuan Wang (IVPP)
Min Zhao (Beijing University)
Jack Tseng (LACM / USC)
The weather in Xining is overcast, with dark rain cloud looming in the north, with light breeze at ~5 miles per hour, and daytime high of 70 degrees F.